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Christmas morning blaze kills 5 in Connecticut family

(Reuters) - An elderly couple and their three granddaughters were killed when fire roared through a house in Stamford, Connecticut, early on Christmas morning. Two people, including the girls' mother, survived, authorities said.

Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia and acting Fire Chief Antonio Conte confirmed the deaths from the scene of the three-alarm blaze, which erupted just before 5 a.m. in the Shippan Point neighborhood near the city's harbor.

"It is a terrible, terrible day ... We lost five residents this morning," Pavia said in a video posted on the Stamford Advocate newspaper's website.

"This is Christmas Day. There probably has not been a worse Christmas Day in the city of Stamford ... Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and to emergency personnel on the scene," he added.

The owner of the house was identified as Madonna Badger, "and the people who perished were her mother and father, who were visiting ... and her three children -- three girls, (one aged) 10, and 7-year old twins," Stamford Police Department Detective Paul Guzda told Reuters.

Badger and a male acquaintance, described as a contractor who was working on the house, were injured in the fire but were expected to make a full recovery, Guzda said. Both survivors were middle-aged, he said.

Firefighters attempted to rescue those trapped in the burning house, but "they were pushed back by intense flame and heat," Conte said. He added that the cause of the fire was under investigation.

Video footage showed flames engulfing a house in a residential district of large homes.

Emergency workers later recovered the victims' bodies, but Conte said it could take a number of days for investigators to determine the origins of the blaze.

Stamford is located on Connecticut's shore on Long Island Sound, about 40 miles northeast of New York City.

(Reporting by Zach Howard; Editing by Tim Gaynor and Steve Gorman)

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